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Can Diet Pills Cause Problems Getting Pregnant Later On?

author image Natalie Smith
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
Can Diet Pills Cause Problems Getting Pregnant Later On?
Lifestyle has a large impact on a woman's ability to get pregnant. Photo Credit: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Fertility is a complex issue that involves many factors, from the woman's weight and gynecological health to her exposure to environmental toxins. Even medications that you have taken in the past, such as diet pills, can have an effect of your fertility, according to a 2010 study in the "Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology."

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Weight and Fertility

Scientists and obstetricians have long been aware of the link between obesity or being underweight and fertility. Thirty percent of a woman's supply of estrogen is produced by her fat cells, according to Aniruddha N. Malpani, author of "How To Have A Baby - Overcoming Infertility." Women who are significantly overweight or underweight throw off their hormone balances, which in turn has a serious impact on fertility. Even being 10 to 15 percent over or under weight can impair your fertility, states Malpani.

Diet Pills

Diet pills are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Association, which means that there is not a lot of research regarding their safety or how they affect fertility, according to the Mayo Clinic website. However, diet pills are manufactured from a variety of substances, any of which could affect your fertility. One of the most common ingredients in diet pills is caffeine. Because caffeine is linked with miscarriage, many obstetricians recommend that women who are trying to get pregnant reduce their caffeine consumption to 100 to 200 milligrams per day. Many diet pills far exceed this amount.

Other Health Effects

Research diet pills carefully before you take them and consult your physician if you have questions about the safety or efficacy of a pill. Some diet pills have other effects that can damage your long-term health and possibly your fertility. As of 2011, the FDA has banned diet pills that contain ephedra because these pills have caused many deaths. In addition, some pills are unsafe for women who are taking drugs such as MAO inhibitors or heart medications because their ingredients cause an interaction with these drugs.

When to Consult a Gynecologist

If you have been taking diet pills for an extended time and you are worried about your fertility, consult a gynecologist. In addition, if you have been trying to conceive for one year and you have been unsuccessful, if the woman has a history of irregular menstrual cycles, the male has a history of impotence, or if the woman is 38 years old or older and is trying unsuccessfully to conceive, seek fertility evaluation, according to Godwin Ikechukwu Meniru and Alvin Langer, authors of the "Cambridge Guide to Infertility Management and Assisted Reproduction."

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